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Would you like to live in a society of peace prosperity and freedom Would you like to earn a lot more money than your parents be free to do whatever you want so long as it doesnt harm others and see the threats of violence and war largely disappear Would you like to live in an age of artistic freedom and rapid scientific progress in which anything seems possible Such a world is not only possible it is a part of our history For nearly fifty years between the end of the Civil War in 1865 and the beginning of World War I in 1914 the United States was the freest most prosperous society on earth Living standards rose nearly 5 a year The average Americans income was six times higher at the end of the period than at the beginning There was little restriction upon personal economic and artistic freedom There was no income tax no military draft little government regulation of business and no prohibition of drugs Independent schools and private charities made education available for all and helped those in need And except for the brief Spanish-American War the nation enjoyed the longest period without foreign wars in our history Nearly anything seemed possible Illiterate immigrants who started with a pushcart became millionaires through hard work Living standards are falling and violence has become epidemic America of the 1990s is far removed from the America of the 1890s both in time and in spirit Todays social landscape is one of deterioration violence and mounting fear Violence has become epidemic Murder is now the leading cause of death among young black men One in four college women report they were the victim of rape or attempted rape And nearly 25 of all American families are now victimized by theft or vandalism every year The threat of superpower warfare has declined But weapons of mass destruction chemical biological and nuclear continue to spread to
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